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Agronomy, Volume 8, Issue 8 (August 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Application of Arabidopsis thaliana resistance-inducing compounds, including salicylic acid and [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle First Case of Conyza canadensis from Hungary with Multiple Resistance to Glyphosate and Flazasulfuron
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080157
Received: 10 July 2018 / Revised: 13 August 2018 / Accepted: 13 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
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Abstract
Conyza canadensis is a species invading large areas throughout the world, mainly due to its ability to evolve herbicide resistance. In Hungary, extensive areas have been infested by this species due to the difficulty in controlling it with glyphosate. To determine whether poor
[...] Read more.
Conyza canadensis is a species invading large areas throughout the world, mainly due to its ability to evolve herbicide resistance. In Hungary, extensive areas have been infested by this species due to the difficulty in controlling it with glyphosate. To determine whether poor control was a result of misapplication or glyphosate resistance, eight suspected glyphosate-resistant C. canadensis populations from different Hungarian regions were studied. In whole-plant dose-response assays with glyphosate, the LD50 and GR50 values (survival and fresh weight reduction at 50% relative to the untreated control, respectively) indicated that resistance was confirmed in five of the eight populations (H-5 population being the most resistant). Additionally, the shikimic acid accumulation tests corroborated the results observed in the dose–response assays. 11 alternative herbicides from six different modes of action (MOA) were applied at field doses as control alternatives on populations H-5 and H-6 (both in the same regions). The H-5 population showed an unexpected resistance to flazasulfuron (ALS-inhibitor). The ALS enzyme activity studies indicated that the I50 for H-5 with flazasulfuron was 63.3 times higher compared to its correspondent susceptible population (H-6). Therefore, the H-5 population exhibited multiple-resistance to flazasulfuron and glyphosate, being the first case reported in Europe for these two MOA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Management & New Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle Origin and Distribution of the VRN-A1 Exon 4 and Exon 7 Haplotypes in Domesticated Wheat Species
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080156
Received: 5 July 2018 / Revised: 8 August 2018 / Accepted: 17 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
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Abstract
The high adaptive potential of modern wheat to a wide range of environmental conditions is determined by genetic changes during domestication. Genetic diversity in VRN1 genes is a key contributor to this adaptability. Previously, the association between the transitions C->T within the fourth
[...] Read more.
The high adaptive potential of modern wheat to a wide range of environmental conditions is determined by genetic changes during domestication. Genetic diversity in VRN1 genes is a key contributor to this adaptability. Previously, the association between the transitions C->T within the fourth and seventh exons of VRN-A1, the distinguishing pair haplotypes Ex4C/Ex4T and Ex7C/Ex7T, and the modulation of such agronomically valuable traits as the vernalization requirement duration, frost tolerance and flowering time of wheat have been shown. However, this polymorphism was analyzed in only a few cultivars of Triticum aestivum L., and not in other wheat species. In the present study, VRN-A1 exon 4 and exon 7 were investigated in six tetraploid and five hexaploid wheat species carrying different VRN-A1 alleles. An allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was optimized to identify the VRN-A1 exon 7 haplotypes. It was found that polymorphism of the VRN-A1 exon 7 originated in wild tetraploid wheat of Triticum dicoccoides Körn, while the mutant exon 4 of this gene originated later in domesticated hexaploid wheat of T. aestivum. Both these polymorphisms are found in all hexaploid wheat species. Analysis of the VRN-A1 exon 4 and exon 7 haplotype combinations found that intact exon 7 and mutant exon 4 are associated with analogous types of exon 4 and 7, respectively. With the exclusion of the Vrn-A1c (IL369) and Vrn-A1j alleles, identified only in hexaploid wheat, all dominant VRN-A1 alleles carry intact exons 4 and 7 (Ex4C/7C haplotype). The Ex4C/4T/7T haplotype was detected in numerous accessions of hexaploid wheat and is associated with the presence of multiple copies of VRN-A1. Overall, modern domesticated hexaploid wheat T. aestivum includes most possible combinations of the VRN-A1 exon 4 and exon 7 haplotypes among polyploid wheat, which are present in different proportions. This contributes to the high adaptive potential to a broad range of environmental conditions and facilitates the widespread distribution of this species throughout the world. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Salinity and Low Phosphorus Differentially Affect Shoot and Root Traits in Two Wheat Cultivars with Contrasting Tolerance to Salt
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080155
Received: 9 July 2018 / Revised: 8 August 2018 / Accepted: 17 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
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Abstract
Soil salinity and phosphorus (P) deficiency both have adverse effects on crop growth and productivity, but the interaction of soil salinity and P deficiency is not well known. Two P-inefficient wheat cultivars, Janz (salinity-tolerant) and Jandaroi (salinity-sensitive), grown in soil in rhizoboxes, were
[...] Read more.
Soil salinity and phosphorus (P) deficiency both have adverse effects on crop growth and productivity, but the interaction of soil salinity and P deficiency is not well known. Two P-inefficient wheat cultivars, Janz (salinity-tolerant) and Jandaroi (salinity-sensitive), grown in soil in rhizoboxes, were treated with either 100 µM P (control), 100 mM NaCl (saline stress), 10 µM P (low P stress), or both NaCl and low P (combined stress), from 10 days after sowing (DAS) until harvest at 40 DAS. Significant reductions in leaf area, shoot and root biomass, tissue water and chlorophyll contents, gas exchange, and K+ and P acquisition at harvest were observed in the three treatments. The reduction was greater for low P supply than for salinity alone, but their interaction was not additive. The detrimental effects on root growth became apparent 10 days earlier in Jandaroi compared to Janz. Root length, root number, root length densities, and root number densities were higher in the upper 10 cm soil layer than in the lower layers for both cultivars. This study demonstrated that 10 µM P is more detrimental than 100 mM NaCl for shoot and root growth of both wheat cultivars irrespective of their difference in salinity tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle Nitrogen Recovery Efficiency from Urea Treated with NSN Co-Polymer Applied to No-Till Corn
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080154
Received: 11 June 2018 / Revised: 13 August 2018 / Accepted: 14 August 2018 / Published: 19 August 2018
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Abstract
Nitrogen (N) rate increases used by many farmers produce a reduced or null effect on N recovery efficiency (RE) by crops. Therefore, management practices to reduce N losses and increase RE are necessary. Co-polymer maleic itaconic acid (NSN) have become available for use
[...] Read more.
Nitrogen (N) rate increases used by many farmers produce a reduced or null effect on N recovery efficiency (RE) by crops. Therefore, management practices to reduce N losses and increase RE are necessary. Co-polymer maleic itaconic acid (NSN) have become available for use with urea and has shown potential in reducing N losses. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of urea treated with NSN on grain yield and RE in a no-till corn. A field experiment was carried out at Balcarce, Argentina over three years, evaluated treatments were urea and urea + NSN at 120 N kg ha−1, and additional 0 N treatment was included. Urea + NSN was effective to reduce total ammonia volatilization losses, and the average of two years were 1.4 (1.1% to N applied) and 8.7 kg ha−1 (7.2% to N applied) for urea + NSN and urea, respectively. However, while grain yield and N grain removal were not affected by urea + NSN, the N rate significantly increased grain yield and N grain removal. Nitrogen recovery efficiency was not affected by urea + NSN, RE (average of three years) was 29.0% and 27.8% for urea and urea + NSN, respectively. In conclusion, there was no advantage of using urea treated with NSN in no-till corn overgrain yield, N grain removal, or RE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Innovative Cropping Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Diallel Analysis for Morphological and Biochemical Traits in Tomato Cultivated under the Influence of Tomato Leaf Curl Virus
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080153
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 15 August 2018 / Accepted: 17 August 2018 / Published: 19 August 2018
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Abstract
Eloquent information about the genetic basis of inheritance is important for any breeding program. Therefore, a diallel study was conducted under the influence of tomato leaf curl virus (TLCV) disease, using the eleven advanced lines of tomato. Firstly, information regarding percent disease index
[...] Read more.
Eloquent information about the genetic basis of inheritance is important for any breeding program. Therefore, a diallel study was conducted under the influence of tomato leaf curl virus (TLCV) disease, using the eleven advanced lines of tomato. Firstly, information regarding percent disease index (PDI) was determined via artificial screening with viruliferous whiteflies. Later, these lines were crossed in a half diallel mating design to produce fifty-five one-way hybrids. These hybrids and parental genotypes were evaluated for morphological and biochemical traits under open field conditions. Using the Griffing approach (Method II and Model I), the basis of the inheritance of traits was determined. Furthermore, a Bayesian model was applied to the total yield descriptor. Correlation data indicated that total yield was not correlated with any other trait. The significant general combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) values indicate exploitable genetic variation. The broad-sense heritability values were larger than narrow-sense heritability, showing that selection will be efficient for the improvement of these traits. Hybrid combinations H23, H42 and H49 can be considered efficient for the selection of multiple traits, including yield. Overall, this study provides useful information regarding the genetics of important traits of tomato under TLCV infestation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Tomato and Solanaceae)
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Open AccessReview Climate Change, Carbon Dioxide, and Pest Biology, Managing the Future: Coffee as a Case Study
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080152
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 15 August 2018 / Published: 17 August 2018
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Abstract
The challenge of maintaining sufficient food, feed, fiber, and forests, for a projected end of century population of between 9–10 billion in the context of a climate averaging 2–4 °C warmer, is a global imperative. However, climate change is likely to alter the
[...] Read more.
The challenge of maintaining sufficient food, feed, fiber, and forests, for a projected end of century population of between 9–10 billion in the context of a climate averaging 2–4 °C warmer, is a global imperative. However, climate change is likely to alter the geographic ranges and impacts for a variety of insect pests, plant pathogens, and weeds, and the consequences for managed systems, particularly agriculture, remain uncertain. That uncertainty is related, in part, to whether pest management practices (e.g., biological, chemical, cultural, etc.) can adapt to climate/CO2 induced changes in pest biology to minimize potential loss. The ongoing and projected changes in CO2, environment, managed plant systems, and pest interactions, necessitates an assessment of current management practices and, if warranted, development of viable alternative strategies to counter damage from invasive alien species and evolving native pest populations. We provide an overview of the interactions regarding pest biology and climate/CO2; assess these interactions currently using coffee as a case study; identify the potential vulnerabilities regarding future pest impacts; and discuss possible adaptive strategies, including early detection and rapid response via EDDMapS (Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System), and integrated pest management (IPM), as adaptive means to improve monitoring pest movements and minimizing biotic losses while improving the efficacy of pest control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pest Management in Agroecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle Water Stress Influence on The Vegetative Period Yield Components of Different Maize Genotypes
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080151
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 28 July 2018 / Accepted: 15 August 2018 / Published: 17 August 2018
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Abstract
Maize is an important food staple in many countries, and is useful in animal feed and many industrial applications. Its productivity is highly sensitive to drought stress, which may occur at any period during its growth cycle. The objective of this work was
[...] Read more.
Maize is an important food staple in many countries, and is useful in animal feed and many industrial applications. Its productivity is highly sensitive to drought stress, which may occur at any period during its growth cycle. The objective of this work was to compare the water stress influence on the performance of different maize genotypes in critical vegetative stages. Four genotypes of maize (namely a single-cross hybrid (AG 9045), a double-cross hybrid (AG 9011), a triple-cross hybrid (AG 5011), and a variety (AL Bandeirante)) were subjected to a 10-day period without irrigation in the vegetative stages that determine the number of kernel rows and the plant’s ability to take up nutrients and water (V4, V6 and V8). The impact of low water availability was assessed by analyzing plant height, height of the first ear insertion, stem diameter, yield per plant, and number of rows per ear, evincing that the yield per plant was the most sensitive parameter in all the stages. With regard to the influence of the genotype, the single-cross hybrid was demonstrated to be the most resilient to water shortage. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Use of Living, Mowed, and Soil-Incorporated Cover Crops for Weed Control in Apricot Orchards
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080150
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 4 August 2018 / Accepted: 13 August 2018 / Published: 16 August 2018
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Abstract
Apricot fruits provide important health, economic, and nutritional benefits. Weeds damage apricot production directly and host the pests that cause damages to apricot trees. However, very few studies are available on weed control in apricot orchards. This research work was aimed at evaluating
[...] Read more.
Apricot fruits provide important health, economic, and nutritional benefits. Weeds damage apricot production directly and host the pests that cause damages to apricot trees. However, very few studies are available on weed control in apricot orchards. This research work was aimed at evaluating five cover crops for weed suppression in apricot orchard. The effect of living, mowed, and soil-incorporated cover corps on weeds was recorded and compared with glyphosate application and mechanical weed control. The cover crops were Vicia villosa Roth., Vicia pannonica Crantz, Triticale + V. pannonica, Phacelia tanacetifolia Benth., and Fagopyrum esculentum Moench. Five major weed species in the experimental area were Amaranthus retroflexus L., Convolvulus arvensis L., Tribulus terrestris L., Sisymbrium officinale (L.) Scop., and Sorghum halepense (L.) Per. The highest biomass production was noted for Triticale + V. pannonica in 2015 and for P. tanacetifolia in 2016. Living cover crops were effective in decreasing the weed biomass compared with the control. Both mowing and soil incorporation of cover crops were effective in decreasing weed richness and density over control. Mowed or soil-incorporated cover crops were more effective than herbicide or mechanical weed control, while F. esculentum was the least effective cover crop for suppressing weeds in apricot orchard. The results of our studies implied that cover crops could be used for weed control in apricot, and their mowing or soil incorporation could enhance their efficacy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Sulphur Application on Photosynthesis and Biomass Accumulation of Sesame Varieties under Rainfed Conditions
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080149
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 11 August 2018 / Accepted: 13 August 2018 / Published: 16 August 2018
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Abstract
Oilseeds yield response to sulphur (S) has been well investigated but the dynamics of total biomass accumulation (TBA) and partitioning by sesame plants in response to S are not well understood. This study was initiated to investigate the effects of S on sesame,
[...] Read more.
Oilseeds yield response to sulphur (S) has been well investigated but the dynamics of total biomass accumulation (TBA) and partitioning by sesame plants in response to S are not well understood. This study was initiated to investigate the effects of S on sesame, in which four sesame varieties V1, SG-27; V2, SG-30; V3, SG-36; V4, SG-51 and four S treatments T1, 20; T2, 30; T3, 40; T4, 50 kg ha−1 were used. Results revealed that the leaf area index and photosynthetic rate of sesame varieties were significantly higher under T3 with V3. Similarly, S fertilization considerably increased the TBA and maximum TBA was reached at late-flowering with V3 in T3. Relative to T1, plants in T3 had 33 and 23% higher capsule and seed biomass, respectively. Furthermore, total S accumulation and distribution in different plant organs changed with growth stage, at pre-flowering and mid-flowering stage maximum S was found in the stem, whereas at late-flowering and full-maturity stage highest S was recorded in reproductive parts. These results implied that S fertilizers should be applied to agricultural fields to improve oilseed production and by selecting the appropriate and area-specific genotype we can increase sesame seed yield under rainfed conditions. Full article
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Open AccessReview Similarities and Differences in the Acquisition of Fe and P by Dicot Plants
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080148
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 11 August 2018 / Accepted: 13 August 2018 / Published: 15 August 2018
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Abstract
This review deals with two essential plant mineral nutrients, iron (Fe) and phosphorus (P); the acquisition of both has important environmental and economic implications. Both elements are abundant in soils but are scarcely available to plants. To prevent deficiency, dicot plants develop physiological
[...] Read more.
This review deals with two essential plant mineral nutrients, iron (Fe) and phosphorus (P); the acquisition of both has important environmental and economic implications. Both elements are abundant in soils but are scarcely available to plants. To prevent deficiency, dicot plants develop physiological and morphological responses in their roots to specifically acquire Fe or P. Hormones and signalling substances, like ethylene, auxin and nitric oxide (NO), are involved in the activation of nutrient-deficiency responses. The existence of common inducers suggests that they must act in conjunction with nutrient-specific signals in order to develop nutrient-specific deficiency responses. There is evidence suggesting that P- or Fe-related phloem signals could interact with ethylene and NO to confer specificity to the responses to Fe- or P-deficiency, avoiding their induction when ethylene and NO increase due to other nutrient deficiency or stress. The mechanisms responsible for such interaction are not clearly determined, and thus, the regulatory networks that allow or prevent cross talk between P and Fe deficiency responses remain obscure. Here, fragmented information is drawn together to provide a clearer overview of the mechanisms and molecular players involved in the regulation of the responses to Fe or P deficiency and their interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Mineral Nutrition: Principles and Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Climatic Variables on Carbon Content in Sugar Beet Root
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080147
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 8 August 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
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Abstract
The impacts of climatic variables on the growth and carbon content of spring sown sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) in the Castilla y Leon region (Northwestern Spain) were assessed by analyzing 35 beet crop variables at four sites over two cultivation years.
[...] Read more.
The impacts of climatic variables on the growth and carbon content of spring sown sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) in the Castilla y Leon region (Northwestern Spain) were assessed by analyzing 35 beet crop variables at four sites over two cultivation years. ANOVA analysis allowed to discern that the location was the factor that had the highest effect on those variables. Fertilization treatments only had a significant impact on the variables derived from the quantity of fresh material (leaves), while the beet variety choice influenced the amount of nitrogen in leaves and the carbon to nitrogen ratio. It could be inferred that the percentage of root carbon content depended mostly on the location and that a higher percentage of root carbon content led to a higher content of dry matter, with a positive relationship with the sucrose content for the two types of varieties that were tested. Principal Component Analysis distinguished the climatic factors that most influenced each cultivation area in each cultivation year and provided a clear separation of the data in clusters, evidencing the uniqueness of each site. Full article
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Open AccessReview Plant Desiccation Tolerance and its Regulation in the Foliage of Resurrection “Flowering-Plant” Species
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080146
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 7 August 2018 / Accepted: 9 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
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Abstract
The majority of flowering-plant species can survive complete air-dryness in their seed and/or pollen. Relatively few species (‘resurrection plants’) express this desiccation tolerance in their foliage. Knowledge of the regulation of desiccation tolerance in resurrection plant foliage is reviewed. Elucidation of the regulatory
[...] Read more.
The majority of flowering-plant species can survive complete air-dryness in their seed and/or pollen. Relatively few species (‘resurrection plants’) express this desiccation tolerance in their foliage. Knowledge of the regulation of desiccation tolerance in resurrection plant foliage is reviewed. Elucidation of the regulatory mechanism in resurrection grasses may lead to identification of genes that can improve stress tolerance and yield of major crop species. Well-hydrated leaves of resurrection plants are desiccation-sensitive and the leaves become desiccation tolerant as they are drying. Such drought-induction of desiccation tolerance involves changes in gene-expression causing extensive changes in the complement of proteins and the transition to a highly-stable quiescent state lasting months to years. These changes in gene-expression are regulated by several interacting phytohormones, of which drought-induced abscisic acid (ABA) is particularly important in some species. Treatment with only ABA induces desiccation tolerance in vegetative tissue of Borya constricta Churchill. and Craterostigma plantagineum Hochstetter. but not in the resurrection grass Sporobolus stapfianus Gandoger. Suppression of drought-induced senescence is also important for survival of drying. Further research is needed on the triggering of the induction of desiccation tolerance, on the transition between phases of protein synthesis and on the role of the phytohormone, strigolactone and other potential xylem-messengers during drying and rehydration. Full article
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Open AccessReview Impact of High Temperature and Drought Stresses on Chickpea Production
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080145
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 7 August 2018 / Accepted: 10 August 2018 / Published: 12 August 2018
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Abstract
Global climate change has caused severe crop yield losses worldwide and is endangering food security in the future. The impact of climate change on food production is high in Australia and globally. Climate change is projected to have a negative impact on crop
[...] Read more.
Global climate change has caused severe crop yield losses worldwide and is endangering food security in the future. The impact of climate change on food production is high in Australia and globally. Climate change is projected to have a negative impact on crop production. Chickpea is a cool season legume crop mostly grown on residual soil moisture. High temperature and terminal drought are common in different regions of chickpea production with varying intensities and frequencies. Therefore, stable chickpea production will depend on the release of new cultivars with improved adaptation to major events such as drought and high temperature. Recent progress in chickpea breeding has increased the efficiency of assessing genetic diversity in germplasm collections. This review provides an overview of the integration of new approaches and tools into breeding programs and their impact on the development of stress tolerance in chickpea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adapting Crop Productivity to Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Nitrogen Recovery and Loss from Kentucky Bluegrass Fertilized by Conventional or Enhanced-Efficiency Urea Granules
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080144
Received: 5 July 2018 / Revised: 27 July 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 11 August 2018
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Abstract
Easy handling and low unit N cost make prilled urea (46-0-0) a popular fertilizer. While incomplete recovery of granular urea applications by turfgrass is documented, field evaluations of NH3 volatilization mitigation by coatings or bioinhibitor efficiency enhancements are limited. Meanwhile, NH3
[...] Read more.
Easy handling and low unit N cost make prilled urea (46-0-0) a popular fertilizer. While incomplete recovery of granular urea applications by turfgrass is documented, field evaluations of NH3 volatilization mitigation by coatings or bioinhibitor efficiency enhancements are limited. Meanwhile, NH3 emissions reduce air quality and contribute to nutrient loading of water resources. Our objectives were to quantify 3- and 6-d ammonia emission and 9-week turfgrass recovery of unincorporated granular fertilizer application to turfgrass. In 2014 and 2015, commercial urea-N fertilizers were broadcast over a mature Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L. ‘Midnight’) lawn at 43 kg ha−1. Treatments included conventional urea and three enhanced-efficiency fertilizers; a blended fertilizer with 25% of its urea-N supplanted by polymer- and polymer-/sulfur-coated prills, or two stabilized urea fertilizers both amended by N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT) and dicyandiamide (DCD) inhibitors. Using a 51% ‘trapping-efficiency’ flux chamber system under the field conditions described, 23.1 or 33.5% of the conventional urea-N was lost as NH3 over the respective 3- or 6-d period following application. Alternatively, dual amendment by NBPT and DCD resulted in approximately 10.3 or 19.6% NH3-N loss over the respective 3- or 6-d periods, and greater fertilizer-N recovery by the turfgrass over the 9-week experiments. Full article
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Open AccessReview Plant Protection by Benzoxazinoids—Recent Insights into Biosynthesis and Function
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080143
Received: 13 July 2018 / Revised: 8 August 2018 / Accepted: 9 August 2018 / Published: 11 August 2018
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Abstract
Benzoxazinoids (BXs) are secondary metabolites present in many Poaceae including the major crops maize, wheat, and rye. In contrast to other potentially toxic secondary metabolites, BXs have not been targets of counter selection during breeding and the effect of BXs on insects, microbes,
[...] Read more.
Benzoxazinoids (BXs) are secondary metabolites present in many Poaceae including the major crops maize, wheat, and rye. In contrast to other potentially toxic secondary metabolites, BXs have not been targets of counter selection during breeding and the effect of BXs on insects, microbes, and neighbouring plants has been recognised. A broad knowledge about the mode of action and metabolisation in target organisms including herbivorous insects, aphids, and plants has been gathered in the last decades. BX biosynthesis has been elucidated on a molecular level in crop cereals. Recent advances, mainly made by investigations in maize, uncovered a significant diversity in the composition of BXs within one species. The pattern can be specific for single plant lines and dynamic changes triggered by biotic and abiotic stresses were observed. Single BXs might be toxic, repelling, attractive, and even growth-promoting for insects, depending on the particular species. BXs delivered into the soil influence plant and microbial communities. Furthermore, BXs can possibly be used as signalling molecules within the plant. In this review we intend to give an overview of the current data on the biosynthesis, structure, and function of BXs, beyond their characterisation as mere phytotoxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Responses in Crop Plants)
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Open AccessArticle Arabidopsis thaliana Immunity-Related Compounds Modulate Disease Susceptibility in Barley
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080142
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 4 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
Plants are exposed to numerous pathogens and fend off many of these with different phytohormone signalling pathways. Much is known about defence signalling in the dicotyledonous model plant Arabidopsisthaliana, but it is unclear to which extent knowledge from model systems can
[...] Read more.
Plants are exposed to numerous pathogens and fend off many of these with different phytohormone signalling pathways. Much is known about defence signalling in the dicotyledonous model plant Arabidopsisthaliana, but it is unclear to which extent knowledge from model systems can be transferred to monocotyledonous plants, including cereal crops. Here, we investigated the defence-inducing potential of Arabidopsis resistance-inducing compounds in the cereal crop barley. Salicylic acid (SA), folic acid (Fol), and azelaic acid (AzA), each inducing defence against (hemi-)biotrophic pathogens in Arabidopsis, were applied to barley leaves and the treated and systemic leaves were subsequently inoculated with Xanthomonastranslucens pv. cerealis (Xtc), Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (powdery mildew, Bgh), or Pyrenophora teres. Fol and SA reduced Bgh propagation locally and/or systemically, whereas Fol enhanced Xtc growth in barley. AzA reduced Bgh propagation systemically and enhanced Xtc growth locally. Neither SA, Fol, nor AzA influenced lesion sizes caused by the necrotrophic fungus P. teres, suggesting that the tested compounds exclusively affected growth of (hemi-)biotrophic pathogens in barley. In addition to SA, Fol and AzA might thus act as resistance-inducing compounds in barley against Bgh, although adverse effects on the growth of pathogenic bacteria, such as Xtc, are possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Responses in Crop Plants)
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Open AccessArticle Transcriptomic Analysis of Banana in Response to Phosphorus Starvation Stress
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080141
Received: 7 July 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
Bananas are an important part of the diets of millions of people around the globe. Low P absorption and use efficiency significantly restrict banana yields. To further explore the molecular mechanisms of P regulation in banana plants, we used RNA sequencing-based transcriptomic analysis
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Bananas are an important part of the diets of millions of people around the globe. Low P absorption and use efficiency significantly restrict banana yields. To further explore the molecular mechanisms of P regulation in banana plants, we used RNA sequencing-based transcriptomic analysis for banana plants subjected to Pi deficit stress for 60 days. We detected 1900 significantly differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in aboveground plant parts and 7398 DEGs in root parts under low P stress. Gene ontology (GO) classification analysis showed that 156,291 GO terms belonging to molecular functions, 53,114 GO terms belonging to cellular components, and 228,544 GO terms belonging to biological processes were enriched in the aboveground and root components. A number of DEGs involved in energy metabolism-related processes, signal transduction, control of rhizosphere P activation, and Pi mobilization were found, which were confirmed by quantitative reverse-transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis. At the transcriptomic level, we detected 13 DEGs from different organs and with different functions in the time-course response to phosphorus deficiency stress. These DEGs may include some key genes that regulate the phosphorus network, increasing our understanding of the molecular mechanism of Pi homeostasis in banana. These findings will also help develop biotechnologies to create a variant of banana with more effective Pi absorption and utilization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle First Report of Amaranthus hybridus with Multiple Resistance to 2,4-D, Dicamba, and Glyphosate
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080140
Received: 10 July 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 6 August 2018
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Abstract
In many countries, Amaranthus hybridus is a widespread weed in agricultural systems. The high prolificacy and invasive capacity as well as the resistance of some biotypes to herbicides are among the complications of handling this weed. This paper reports on the first A.
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In many countries, Amaranthus hybridus is a widespread weed in agricultural systems. The high prolificacy and invasive capacity as well as the resistance of some biotypes to herbicides are among the complications of handling this weed. This paper reports on the first A. hybridus biotypes with resistance to auxinic herbicides and multiple resistance to auxinic herbicides and the EPSPs inhibitor, glyphosate. Several dose response assays were carried out to determine and compare sensitivity of six population of A. hybridus to glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba. In addition, shikimic acid accumulation and piperonil butoxide effects on 2,4-D and dicamba metabolism were tested in the same populations. The results showed four populations were resistant to dicamba and three of these were also resistant to 2,4-D, while only one population was resistant to glyphosate. The glyphosate-resistant population also showed multiple resistance to auxinic herbicides. Pretreatment with piperonil butoxide (PBO) followed by 2,4-D or dicamba resulted in the death of all individual weeds independent of herbicide or population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Management & New Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle Statistical Modeling of Phenotypic Plasticity under Abiotic Stress in Triticum durum L. and Triticum aestivum L. Genotypes
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080139
Received: 19 July 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 4 August 2018
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Abstract
Future challenges to the role of durum and bread wheat in global food security will be shaped by their potential to produce larger yields and better nutritional quality, while increasingly adapting to multiple biotic and abiotic stresses in the view of global climate
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Future challenges to the role of durum and bread wheat in global food security will be shaped by their potential to produce larger yields and better nutritional quality, while increasingly adapting to multiple biotic and abiotic stresses in the view of global climate change. There is a dearth of information on comparative assessment of phenotypic plasticity in both wheat species under long-term multiple abiotic stresses. Phenotypic plasticities of two durum and bread wheat genotypes were assessed under increasing abiotic and edaphic stresses for six years. Combinations of normal and reduced length of growing season and population density, with or without rotation, generated increasing levels of competition for resources and impacted phenotypic plasticity of several plant and yield attributes, including protein and micronutrients contents. All the phenotypic plasticity (PPs) estimates, except for the C:N ratio in both genotypes and grain protein content in T. aestivum genotype, were impacted by abiotic stresses during the second stress phase (PS II) compared with the first (PS I); whereas, covariate effects were limited to a few PPs (e.g., biomass, population density, fertile tillers, grain yield, and grain protein content). Discrimination between factor levels decreased from abiotic phases > growth stages > stress treatments and provided selection criteria of trait combinations that can be positively resilient under abiotic stress (e.g., spike harvest and fertility indices combined with biomass and grain yield in both genotypes). Validation and confirmatory factor models and multiway cluster analyses revealed major differences in phenotypic plasticities between wheat genotypes that can be attributed to differences in ploidy level, length of domestication history, or constitutive differences in resources allocation. Discriminant analyses helped to identify genotypic differences or similarities in the level of trait decoupling in relation to the strength of their correlation and heritability estimates. This information is useful in targeted improvement of traits directly contributing to micronutrient densities, yield components, and yield. New wheat ideotype(s) can be designed for larger grain yield potential under abiotic stress by manipulating yield components that affect kernels m−2 (e.g., number of tillers, number of florets per spikelet, and eventually spike fertility and harvest indices) without impacting nutrient densities and kernel weight, thus raising harvest index beyond its current maximum. Full article
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Open AccessReview Functional Metabolomics—A Useful Tool to Characterize Stress-Induced Metabolome Alterations Opening New Avenues towards Tailoring Food Crop Quality
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080138
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 1 August 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
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Abstract
The breeding of stress-tolerant cultivated plants that would allow for a reduction in harvest losses and undesirable decrease in quality attributes requires a new quality of knowledge on molecular markers associated with relevant agronomic traits, on quantitative metabolic responses of plants to stress
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The breeding of stress-tolerant cultivated plants that would allow for a reduction in harvest losses and undesirable decrease in quality attributes requires a new quality of knowledge on molecular markers associated with relevant agronomic traits, on quantitative metabolic responses of plants to stress challenges, and on the mechanisms controlling the biosynthesis of these molecules. By combining metabolomics with genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics datasets a more comprehensive knowledge of the composition of crop plants used for food or animal feed is possible. In order to optimize crop trait developments, to enhance crop yields and quality, as well as to guarantee nutritional and health factors that provide the possibility to create functional food or feedstuffs, knowledge about the plants’ metabolome is crucial. Next to classical metabolomics studies, this review focuses on several metabolomics-based working techniques, such as sensomics, lipidomics, hormonomics and phytometabolomics, which were used to characterize metabolome alterations during abiotic and biotic stress in order to find resistant food crops with a preferred quality or at least to produce functional food crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Responses in Crop Plants)
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Open AccessReview Pod Shattering: A Homologous Series of Variation Underlying Domestication and an Avenue for Crop Improvement
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080137
Received: 10 June 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 1 August 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
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Abstract
In wild habitats, fruit dehiscence is a critical strategy for seed dispersal; however, in cultivated crops it is one of the major sources of yield loss. Therefore, indehiscence of fruits, pods, etc., was likely to be one of the first traits strongly selected
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In wild habitats, fruit dehiscence is a critical strategy for seed dispersal; however, in cultivated crops it is one of the major sources of yield loss. Therefore, indehiscence of fruits, pods, etc., was likely to be one of the first traits strongly selected in crop domestication. Even with the historical selection against dehiscence in early domesticates, it is a trait still targeted in many breeding programs, particularly in minor or underutilized crops. Here, we review dehiscence in pulse (grain legume) crops, which are of growing importance as a source of protein in human and livestock diets, and which have received less attention than cereal crops and the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. We specifically focus on the (i) history of indehiscence in domestication across legumes, (ii) structures and the mechanisms involved in shattering, (iii) the molecular pathways underlying this important trait, (iv) an overview of the extent of crop losses due to shattering, and the effects of environmental factors on shattering, and, (v) efforts to reduce shattering in crops. While our focus is mainly pulse crops, we also included comparisons to crucifers and cereals because there is extensive research on shattering in these taxa. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Microbial Endophytes that Live within the Seeds of Two Tomato Hybrids Cultivated in Argentina
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080136
Received: 15 June 2018 / Revised: 29 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
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Abstract
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is probably the most important vegetable consumed around the world, and like other produce is affected by stresses and diseases that reduce the yield and production. The purpose of this work was to study the phytobiome of the
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Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is probably the most important vegetable consumed around the world, and like other produce is affected by stresses and diseases that reduce the yield and production. The purpose of this work was to study the phytobiome of the tomato seeds of two hybrids in order to understand first of all whether tomato cultivars host similar groups of organisms, as well as their effect on the community structure, particularly of those microbes with the potential to promote growth and/or control plant pathogens. Different cultivars of tomato (genotypes) host significantly different endophytic communities, which is also reflected at the order level. These communities are particularly rich in spore-forming bacteria that have the ability either to promote plant growth or synthetize antimicrobial compounds that deter plant pathogens. We conclude that the seeds of the tomato cultivars Elpida and Silverio are sources of endophytic bacteria capable of synthetizing antifungal substances that could potentially be used for biocontrol against plant-pathogenic fungi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Tomato and Solanaceae)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Steel Slag and Biochar Incorporation on Active Soil Organic Carbon Pools in a Subtropical Paddy Field
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080135
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 23 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
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Industrial wastes and agricultural byproducts are increasingly used in crop production as fertilizers, but their impacts on soil carbon (C) sequestration remain poorly understood. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of applying steel slag (SS), biochar (B), and a
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Industrial wastes and agricultural byproducts are increasingly used in crop production as fertilizers, but their impacts on soil carbon (C) sequestration remain poorly understood. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of applying steel slag (SS), biochar (B), and a combination of these two materials (SS + B) on total soil organic C (SOC), active SOC fractions, and C pool management index (CPMI) in a subtropical paddy field in China. The treatments were applied at a rate of 8 t ha−1 to rice at the two (early and late) crop seasons in 2015. The SOC concentrations in the top 30 cm soils in the SS + B treatments were 28.7% and 42.2% higher in the early and late crops, respectively, as compared to the controls (p < 0.05). SOC was positively correlated with soil C:N ratio across the two crop seasons (r = 0.92–0.97, p < 0.01). As compared to the control, SS + B treatment had significantly higher carbon pool index (CPI) in both early (22.4%) and late (40.1%) crops. In the early crop, the C pool activity index (CPAI) was significantly lower in B and SS + B treatments by over 50% than in the control, while the soil C pool management index (CPMI) in the SS, B, and SS + B treatments was lower than that in the control by 36.7%, 41.6%, and 45.4%, respectively. In contrast, in the late crop, no significant differences in CPAI and CPMI were observed among the treatments. Our findings suggest that the addition of steel slag and biochar in subtropical paddy fields could decrease active SOC pools and enhance soil C sequestration only in the early crop, but not the late crop. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective Pattern Recognition Receptors—Versatile Genetic Tools for Engineering Broad-Spectrum Disease Resistance in Crops
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080134
Received: 1 July 2018 / Revised: 28 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
Infestations of crop plants with pathogens pose a major threat to global food supply. Exploiting plant defense mechanisms to produce disease-resistant crop varieties is an important strategy to control plant diseases in modern plant breeding and can greatly reduce the application of agrochemicals.
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Infestations of crop plants with pathogens pose a major threat to global food supply. Exploiting plant defense mechanisms to produce disease-resistant crop varieties is an important strategy to control plant diseases in modern plant breeding and can greatly reduce the application of agrochemicals. The discovery of different types of immune receptors and a detailed understanding of their activation and regulation mechanisms in the last decades has paved the way for the deployment of these central plant immune components for genetic plant disease management. This review will focus on a particular class of immune sensors, termed pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), that activate a defense program termed pattern-triggered immunity (PTI) and outline their potential to provide broad-spectrum and potentially durable disease resistance in various crop species—simply by providing plants with enhanced capacities to detect invaders and to rapidly launch their natural defense program. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Responses in Crop Plants)
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Open AccessArticle Mapping Quantitative Trait Loci for Agronomic Traits in Winter Wheat under Different Soil Moisture Levels
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080133
Received: 1 July 2018 / Revised: 23 July 2018 / Accepted: 29 July 2018 / Published: 31 July 2018
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Abstract
Due to variable moisture conditions in the U.S. Great Plains, it is important to understand genetic control of crop traits under a range of soil moisture levels. Our objective was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for yield, phenology, and morphological traits in
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Due to variable moisture conditions in the U.S. Great Plains, it is important to understand genetic control of crop traits under a range of soil moisture levels. Our objective was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for yield, phenology, and morphological traits in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) under different soil moisture conditions. Field evaluation of a winter wheat doubled haploid population (n = 185) derived from a cross between CO940610 and ‘Platte’ was carried out in Fort Collins and Greeley, Colorado, USA in 2007–2008 and 2008–2009, respectively. At each location, trials were grown under moderate drought stress and fully irrigated conditions. A total of 33 QTL for 11 traits was detected in two or more environments. A cluster of QTL for nine traits was found on chromosome 2B in the vicinity of the photoperiod response gene Ppd-B1. Other stable QTL clusters were detected on chromosome 6A and near the vernalization response gene Vrn-D3 on chromosome 7D. A QTL for grain yield on chromosome 5A was detected in three environments. With minor exceptions, the large-effect QTL were detected in both the water limited and fully irrigated environments, rather than being detected only under specific moisture levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quantitative Trait Locus Mapping for Crop Plants)
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Open AccessArticle Response of Common Bean Genotypes Grown in Soil with Normal or Limited Moisture, with Special Reference to the Nutrient Phosphorus
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080132
Received: 14 June 2018 / Revised: 13 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 30 July 2018
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Abstract
Drought and phosphorus deficiency in the soil are the major production limitations of common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study measured the yield responses of low phosphorus-tolerant common beans to drought stress. A field experiment was conducted under two
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Drought and phosphorus deficiency in the soil are the major production limitations of common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study measured the yield responses of low phosphorus-tolerant common beans to drought stress. A field experiment was conducted under two drought conditions codenamed, non-drought-stress (NDS) and drought-stress (DS). The former was located at Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MUZARDI) in Mukono District, characterised by rainfall of more than 400 mm season−1. The latter was situated at Wabinyonyi in Nakasongola District, characterised by less than 300 mm season−1; both in central Uganda. Treatments included the two study conditions (NDS and DS); and four test bean genotypes, AFR703-1, AFR 708, JESCA, and MCM 2001, against a local check, K131. A water deficit of 156 mm season−1 was observed in the DS site causing a drought intensity index (DII) of 40%. That pattern contrasted considerably in the NDS site where the actual rainfall did not significantly (p > 0.05) vary from the required water by the bean plant. Whereas genotypes AFR703-1 and AFR708 out-yielded the local check in NDS by 213 and 681 kg ha−1, respectively; their grain yield harvested was comparable to the control yield in DS. When grown under DS, low P-tolerant beans, especially the AFR703-1 and AFR708, survived drought stress through faster development by reducing the number of days to flower, reach physiological maturity and develop seeds. AFR703-1 and AFR708 sufficiently withstand drought stress, and are therefore recommended for inclusion in cropping systems that are characteristically constrained by the combined soils’ P deficiency and/or drought. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Halotolerant Bacterial Diversity Associated with Suaeda fruticosa (L.) Forssk. Improved Growth of Maize under Salinity Stress
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080131
Received: 5 July 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 26 July 2018 / Published: 28 July 2018
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Abstract
Halotolerant bacterial strains associated with the rhizosphere and phytoplane of Suaeda fruticosa (L.) Forssk. growing in saline habitats were isolated to mitigate the salinity stress of Zea mays L. 16S rRNA gene sequencing confirmed the presence of strains that belong to Gracilibacillus, Staphylococcus,
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Halotolerant bacterial strains associated with the rhizosphere and phytoplane of Suaeda fruticosa (L.) Forssk. growing in saline habitats were isolated to mitigate the salinity stress of Zea mays L. 16S rRNA gene sequencing confirmed the presence of strains that belong to Gracilibacillus, Staphylococcus, Virgibacillus, Salinicoccus, Bacillus, Zhihengliuella, Brevibacterium, Oceanobacillus, Exiguobacterium, Pseudomonas, Arthrobacter, and Halomonas genera. Strains were screened for auxin production, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC)-deaminase, and biofilm formation. Bacterial auxin production ranged from 14 to 215 µg mL−1. Moreover, several bacterial isolates were also recorded as positive for ACC-deaminase activity, phosphate solubilization, and biofilm formation. In pot trials, bacterial strains significantly mitigated the salinity stress of Z. mays seedlings. For instance, at 200 and 400 mM NaCl, a significant increase of shoot and root length (up to onefold) was recorded for Staphylococcus jettensis F-11. At 200 mM, Zhihengliuella flava F-9 (45%) and Bacillus megaterium F-58 (42%) exhibited significant improvements for fresh weight. For dry weight, S. jettensis F-11 and S. arlettae F-71 recorded up to a threefold increase at 200 mM over the respective control. The results of this study suggest that natural plant settings of saline habitats are a good source for the isolation of beneficial salt-tolerant bacteria to grow crops under saline conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Responses in Crop Plants)
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Open AccessFeature PaperOpinion Analysis of Stress Resistance Using Next Generation Techniques
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080130
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 26 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
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Abstract
Food security for a growing world population remains one of the most challenging tasks. Rapid climate change accelerates the loss of arable land used for crop production, while it simultaneously imposes increasing biotic and abiotic stresses on crop plants. Analysis and molecular understanding
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Food security for a growing world population remains one of the most challenging tasks. Rapid climate change accelerates the loss of arable land used for crop production, while it simultaneously imposes increasing biotic and abiotic stresses on crop plants. Analysis and molecular understanding of the factors governing stress tolerance is in the focus of scientific and applied research. One plant is often mentioned in the context with stress resistance—Chenopodium quinoa. Through improved breeding strategies and the use of next generation approaches to study and understand quinoa’s salinity tolerance, an important step towards securing food supply is taken. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Responses in Crop Plants)
Open AccessArticle Automatic Segmentation and Counting of Aphid Nymphs on Leaves Using Convolutional Neural Networks
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080129
Received: 13 July 2018 / Revised: 21 July 2018 / Accepted: 24 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
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Abstract
The presence of pests is one of the main problems in crop production, and obtaining reliable statistics of pest infestation is essential for pest management. Detection of pests should be automated because human monitoring of pests is time-consuming and error-prone. Aphids are among
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The presence of pests is one of the main problems in crop production, and obtaining reliable statistics of pest infestation is essential for pest management. Detection of pests should be automated because human monitoring of pests is time-consuming and error-prone. Aphids are among the most destructive pests in greenhouses and they reproduce quickly. Automatic detection of aphid nymphs on leaves (especially on the lower surface) using image analysis is a challenging problem due to color similarity and complicated background. In this study, we propose a method for segmentation and counting of aphid nymphs on leaves using convolutional neural networks. Digital images of pakchoi leaves at different aphid infestation stages were obtained, and corresponding pixel-level binary mask annotated. In the test, segmentation results by the proposed method achieved high overlap with annotation by human experts (Dice coefficient of 0.8207). Automatic counting based on segmentation showed high precision (0.9563) and recall (0.9650). The correlation between aphid nymph count by the proposed method and manual counting was high (R2 = 0.99). The proposed method is generic and can be applied for other species of pests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep Learning Techniques for Agronomy Applications)
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